Local Soccer: Betar to travel to Ahi Nazareth in Cup

Maccabi Netanya drawn to face Maccabi Haifa in the only all Premier League tie of the 10th round.

Betar Boateng 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Betar Boateng 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Netanya was drawn to face Maccabi Haifa on Thursday night in the only all Premier League tie of the 10th round of the State Cup. Netanya, which is currently in second position in the league standings, scraped through to the last 16 on Wednesday, defeating Hapoel Umm el Fahem 3-1 on penalties. Haifa will be playing a top division team on the road for a second straight round after beating Maccabi Petah Tikva in the ninth round on Tuesday. Betar Jerusalem, which is looking for its first cup triumph in 19 years, received a relatively easy draw and will visit Maccabi Ahi Nazareth of the second division. Two-time defending cup holder Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Beer Sheba and Ironi Kiryat Shmona hosts third division Ironi Kiryat Ata. Also in the 10th round it is: Betar/Shimshon Tel Aviv Hapoel Petah Tikva; Hakoakh Amidar Ramat Gan Hapoel Ramat Gan; Bnei Yehuda Ironi Ramat Hasharon; Ironi Rishon Lezion Hapoel Kfar Saba. On Saturday, the biggest loser from the midweek cup ties, Maccabi Tel Aviv, will look to rebound against Bnei Sakhnin in the Premier League. Tel Aviv moved five points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-1 victory over Maccabi Herzliya last week and seemed to finally be going in the right direction. The loss to Betar/Shimshon on Tuesday, however, dispelled any such notion and proved that Maccabi's crisis is far from being over. Sakhnin was also knocked out of the cup on Wednesday, losing to Betar in a penalty shootout. The northern club is, however, still well placed to challenge for a European berth via the league, especially after defeating Maccabi Petah Tikva last week, its first win in four matches. Hapoel Tel Aviv has been flying recently, winning four straight matches in all competitions. The team, which beat Hapoel Upper-Nazareth in the cup on Tuesday, faces a very tough road match against Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday. Hapoel defeated Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv in its last two league encounters, but none of its recent wins has come away from Bloomfield Stadium and it will need to prove on Saturday that its improved play isn't just bound to the stadium in Jaffa. Kiryat Shmona had, up until two weeks ago, been undefeated at home, but Betar ended the team's run, emphatically beating Ironi 3-0. The bottom three sides all play on the road on Saturday, with last-placed Bnei Yehuda facing Maccabi Netanya, Ashdod SC traveling to Petah Tikva and Herzliya visiting Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium. Haifa has lost three of its last four matches and was far from impressive in its cup win over Petah Tikva. "In our last match we played with eight players who weren't on the team last season and that caused a lot of ups and downs in our play," Haifa coach Roni Levy explained on Thursday. "Herzliya plays on the road better than it does at home and we're preparing for a very difficult match. It's important to us to return to winning ways." Herzliya hasn't fared much better than its opponent recently, winning just once in its last six league matches and losing to second-division Hapoel Petah Tikva in the cup.